Graves Middle School 8th grade female students attended the AAUW, or the American Association University of Women, STEM conference Wednesday, January 31, at Whittier College to be encouraged to study and join math and science related fields.
Attendees gathered at the Shannon Center for their welcome and got to choose from six different speakers of their choice. All speakers hold high achievements within their field of science or math.
Many speakers shared about their professional positions in the highly male dominant field. One speaker was a director of product quality at a pharmaceutical company, another a chief financial officer of a banking company, a psychology professor, an environmental science major who used her entrepreneurial skills to create a business that does habitat reformation, a microbial scientist, an IT manager of a company, a FBI agent, a phlebotomist, a chemist, and lastly, a mechanical engineer who played a large role in creating Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Hollywood.
"This is a great field trip for our young ladies. We want them to see that there are successful women in the fields of math and science, and they can also achieve success with hard work and focus,” Graves’ principal, Dr. Matt Fraijo, stated.
The speakers did not only share their accomplishments, but they shared how they got to where they are. They spoke about various paths that they took in education to help them become successful. They also shared the demand and compensation of their fields.
According to the organization, science and math related fields are becoming the most in-demand as well as lucrative. However, women and girls often walk away from this field, and by the end of high school fewer girls than boys pursue college studies in these fields.
Graves math teacher who attended the conference with the girls, Cammy Weiss ,said, “It was an incredible experience for our 8th grade girls and opened new ideas about what they can do in the STEM field.”